ABC, NBC Censor Latest IRS Outrage, CBS Gives Story Only 19 Seconds

On Thursday morning, ABC and NBC refused to cover the latest scoop in the IRS scandal. Politico reported on Wednesday afternoon that former IRS official Lois Lerner cautioned her colleagues about what they write in emails in case any of them come under congressional investigation.

CBS This Morning did not do much better, as the news warranted only a 19 second mention during the 7:30 a.m. half hour when covering headlines from publications across the country. [MP3 audio here; Video below]

Substitute co-host Jeff Glor reported that: 

And Politico says former IRS official Lois Lerner warned colleagues to be careful about what they write in emails. Lerner led the IRS division that singled out tea party groups. The warning followed a report from the IRS Inspector General. Lerner also asked if the IRS internal messaging system could be searched. 

Despite the news breaking in the afternoon hours Wednesday, none of the three broadcast networks covered the story in their evening news programs that day. However, Fox News Channel's Special Report with Bret Baier ran a three-minute-and-9-second story as the third story covered on Wednesday evening's show.

Two of the nation’s leading newspapers followed CBS’s lead in having only minimal coverage. The news regarding Lerner, who led the IRS division responsible for targeting tea party groups, was found on page A16 of Thursday’s New York Times in a one paragraph summary below the fold under the headline “I.R.S. Official May Have Circumvented Email” under the “National Briefing” section.

As for The Washington Post, its story entitled “In IRS e-mail affair, lawyer revises remarks” was listed under the Federal Eye section in the bottom corner of page A19.

Lerner said in an email to a colleague on April 9, 2013 that:

I was cautioning folks about email and how we have had several occasions where Congress has asked for emails and there has been an electronic search for responsive emails–so we need to be cautious about what we say in emails. 

In an interview with The Washington Post, Lerner’s lawyer defended her practice of only printing out and saving some of her emails because the Federal Records Act is “poorly understood around town and effectuated in different ways at different agencies.”

As for the two broadcast networks that refused to provide coverage, ABC’s Good Morning America covered how certain people bear striking resemblances to Hollywood celebrities and NBC’s Today gushed over recent social media posts regarding NBA star LeBron James and his impending decision of whether or not to leave his current team, the Miami Heat, or return to his previous team, the Cleveland Cavaliers.


The full transcript from the July 10 CBS This Morning news brief is transcribed below.

CBS

CBS This Morning

July 10, 2014

7:32 a.m. Eastern

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Politico; Lois Lerner Cautioned Against Email Chatter Amid Lawmaker Probes]

JEFF GLOR: And Politico says former IRS official Lois Lerner warned colleagues to be careful about what they write in emails. Lerner led the IRS division that singled out tea party groups. The warning followed a report from the IRS Inspector General. Lerner also asked if the IRS internal messaging system could be searched.

Curtis Houck
Curtis Houck
Curtis Houck is a news analyst for the Media Research Center's News Analysis Division